Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, on a U.S. visit, says Washington's foreign policies are fueling terrorism around the world.
Mr. Khatami told a large gathering of American Muslims in Chicago that while the U.S. government says it is fighting terrorism, its policies are "arrogant" and "war-mongering", and only create more terrorism and violence.
The former Iranian leader made the comments Saturday at an annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America. Mr. Khatami urged American Muslims to form lobbying groups to challenge what he called the public's misguided perceptions of Islam.
Iran's president from 1997 to last year also says he was one of the first world leaders to condemn the September 11th terrorist attacks on the U.S. Mr. Khatami says he knew the attacks would only intensify extremism and undermine the concepts of justice and humanity.
In another speech earlier Saturday, Mr. Khatami called for a greater dialogue and cooperation between world religions.
Mr. Khatami made the comments to Muslim community leaders at a mosque in a Chicago suburb. He also said that people of true faith do not include extremists or terrorists who exploit the name of religion.
Mr. Khatami is the most senior Iranian official to tour the United States since 1979 when Iranian radicals seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
Mr. Khatami arrived in the United States Thursday for a two-week visit, after the U.S. State Department granted him a visa. Late this week, he is due to give a speech at the National Cathedral in Washington Thursday, and will attend a U.N. conference in New York Friday.Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.